O-U Stadium to receive $13M facelift

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ole Miss basketball and football have received facelifts to their facilities or even brand new facilities over the past couple of seasons.

Now it is baseball’s turn.

It was announced by the athletic department Monday morning that plans to upgrade Oxford-University Stadium and Swayze Field were in the works.

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The proposed project would cost $13 million and would be part of the $200-million Forward Together campaign that has financed the Pavilion at Ole Miss as well as the upgrades to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, including the North End Zone that’s under construction.

The stadium will undergo renovations and upgrades that will enhance the student-athlete experience as well as the gameday atmosphere for fans. It will include a new baseball performance center, a field-level club behind home plate and additional box seating as well as a rooftop plaza down the first-base line.

It is the first plan of more renovations and upgrades since a construction plan involving the Diamond Club and other premium seating was completed in 2009.

“When I start to think about it, we’re sitting in a stadium that is considered to be one of the best in college baseball already,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said during Monday’s media day press conference. “The renovation that was done in 2009, not much was done for the players. Most of it was done because we outgrew the old stadium. We cosmetically dressed up the locker and players facilities, but not by much. So this upgrade is really centered around the student-athlete and their experience here with Ole Miss baseball.”

The performance center will feature an all-new clubhouse, training room, weight room and players’ lounge to provide the team everything it needs in one location. There will also be indoor hitting cages and an indoor pitching tunnel built in the performance center.

“Ole Miss athletics is always looking out for the welfare of our student-athletes, and the upgrading of facilities in one way to improve their entire collegiate experience,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement. “As one of our most popular and successful sports at Ole Miss, the baseball program brings so much excitement to our fans. It is only fitting that the highlight of this project is a new performance center to the baseball team.”

There will be new additions to the stadium that fans will get to see on opening day Friday as a new video board was installed behind the left-field wall last month. Four ribbon boards have been installed over the concession stands.

The entire project is expected to be completed by the 2018 season.